MOTHER'S DAY MEMOIR ANNOUNCEMENT!
by CATHERINE & ELIZABETH
Two Sisters Writing and Publishing explodes with enthusiasm as we type these words: our amazing mother, retired Chief Judge of Detroit's 36th District Court Marylin Atkins, has written her memoir, and we are going to publish it!
That’s right! All our lives when people learned our mother is black and our father was a former Roman Catholic priest, the response has always been, “When’s the movie coming out?” We, of course, reported this back to our mother, whose humility rivals only her generosity, and she shrugged it off.
“It’s no big deal,” she told us. “It's just my life.”
No big deal that she was 19 and our father (yeah, Father Atkins) was 44 and white. No big deal that the Supreme Court had yet to rule that miscegenation laws were unconstitutional when they married in 1966. No big deal that they left the state to get married so nothing would appear in the local newspapers. No big deal that our father was leaving the priesthood after 15 years following dutiful servitude honoring by his parents’ wishes that he becomes a priest after his younger brother George died in the Battle of Tarawa in November of 1943.
No big deal that the blushing bride was pregnant!
Although she set out to write her memoir longhand (on her favorite yellow legal pads!), it wasn’t until we hooked her up with TextEdit where she clicked, clicked, clicked out her story, beginning with her adoption as a biracial baby in 1946. The story poured out of her, surprising her sometimes at how vivid and fresh the memories remained.
The entire time she wrote she wondered aloud to us, “Do you think people will be interested?” We reassured that the story is fascinating because the truth of her upbringing was that her adoptive mother was abusive and cruel (driving her older brother away at the age of 16) and her adoptive father was loving, kind, and sadly didn’t live long enough to see his daughter’s success.
Our mother succeeded despite her “Mommie Dearest” upbringing. She’s one of those people who despite the rainclouds threatening treacherous conditions, she can see the rainbow after the storm, and she made a series of smart decisions to ensure she and her family made it to the rainbow vista time and again.
We are honored and humbled to have the ridiculous privilege to be her children and to honor her by publishing her book this summer.
Our graphic designers were the first non-family, non-friends to comment on the manuscript. They wrote: “Thanks for sending the manuscript for your mom's memoir. Wow, what a great book! This text immediately draws the reader in.”
As the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia approaches, we couldn’t be happier to be on this journey with the woman who gave us life and who we are lucky enough to call our friend, our mom, our inspiration.
Happy Mother’s Day!
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